HAMPTON, Va. – After 80 games on eight courts in three days at the Boo Williams Sportsplex for Session 1 of the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League impressions were made to say the least.
From perfect teams to elite players staking their claim at the No. 1 spot, here are a handful of things we learned at EYBL Hampton.
1. Five teams are unblemished.
Despite the stiff competition, five teams managed to secure undefeated records.
CP3 All Stars (N.C.), Team Takeover (Washington, D.C.), Pro Skills (Texas), Houston Hoops and Athlete’s First (Okla.) are all 4-0.
Will it last?
If this past weekend is any indication, it’s at least possible; quite the compliment on the unforgiving EYBL.
2. Michael Porter Jr. could attain his goal of being No. 1.
Mokan Elite’s (Kan.) Michael Porter Jr. told us that he wasn’t concerned with being No. 1 in the 2017 class, where he’s currently No. 2 overall. He wants to be No. 1 regardless of class.
After a productive weekend he might very well have a legitimate case.
At 6-foot-9, Porter’s official position is “player.”
He can handle the ball against the press, find open teammates in transition and the halfcourt, post-up and score, knockdown perimeter jump shots and turn in SportsCenter-worthy highlights with the best of ‘em.
The best part? His team wins. Mokan went 3-1 over the weekend and you could intelligently make the case that Porter was one of the top three players at the Sportsplex, which is saying a lot with the plethora of future NBA players that laced ‘em up.
3. College coaches in numbers means it’s real.
Elite recruits often talk about the classic, “You’re our No. 1 priority” sales pitch from college coaches, but most chalk it up to flattery.
Still, this weekend some schools put action behind their words by showing up full force at the games of the players they’re recruiting.
St. Louis Eagles star Jayson Tatum, CP3 All Stars’ star Harry Giles III and Wings Elite (Ark.) guard Malik Monk were a few of the handful of players who were graced with the presence of entire staffs in attendance this past weekend.
And, yes, they noticed.
“I definitely see the coaches sitting over there,” said Giles, who is ranked No. 2 overall in the ESPN 60. “It means a lot to see that because I remember when they weren’t coming like that.”
Well played college coaches, well played.
4. Playaz have the liveliest fans.
It’s no secret that AAU fans are full of energy and passion, but the Playaz Basketball Club’s (N.J.) fans are the liveliest of them all.
There’s a cliché saying in hoops that fan support can account for 8-10 points in a game and the Garden State’s hoops fans more than made their presence felt this past weekend.
From hopping out of the stands to high-five players during games to giving the refs a piece of their mind, Playaz fans cheered their team all the way to a 3-1 record, and were, at times, more entertaining than what was transpiring on the hardwood.
5. Head nods were the preferred method of “communication.”
Since NCAA bylaws strictly prohibited in-person contact between college coaches and recruits at EYBL, coaches resorted to the good old-fashioned head nod to acknowledge players.
Naturally, the players returned the nod and most juniors finished up their conversations through text later after the games.
Players from the 2017 class can’t receive texts from college coaches until June 15 per NCAA rules.
Follow Jason Jordan on Twitter: @JayJayUSATODAY